Faculty Jazz Concert Features Diverse Repertoire and Original Composition

In the silence that followed the series of short notes, the abrupt end of “Cabbage Adage” earned several murmurs of excitement and appreciation from the audience, as the performers shared satisfied smiles among themselves. The piece was composed by Robert Baughman, Adjunct Instructor in Music.

“I was playing around with the word ‘cabbage’ and thinking, ‘could I make some music out of this?’… I took the word ‘adage,’ and it makes a nice little two-bar phrase that you’ll hear Mr. Cicco play on the guitar,” said Baughman during the concert in his introduction to the piece.

The Faculty Jazz Concert took place last Saturday in the Timken Room of Graves Hall, featuring seven Andover music instructors. Performers collectively chose a seven-piece repertoire that represented a variety of different interests.

“Pretty much each person in the group chooses something that they’d like to play, so it becomes an eclectic mix of music, because everybody has all kinds of different ideas of what they enjoy playing. I picked a couple of them, and the last one, ‘Funjii Mama,’ is one that I really like, and of course my song that I wrote,” said Baughman.

The introduction of “To Wisdom the Prize” by Larry Willis featured crisp taps between the two drumsticks mixed with the heavier beat of the drum. Playing alongside the brass instruments, Bertram Lehmann, Adjunct Instructor in Music, fit his drumming to the particular jazz pieces.

“In jazz, [drumming] is very different. The swing feel of jazz is sort of like an open-ended thing, and you expect it to constantly change…What keeps the band together and what blends with the bass is that cymbal…[The drum] complements what else is going on. [As a drummer] you have to be very alert to what’s going on with the tune and the harmony,” said Lehmann.

To enhance the pieces, Lehmann used a variety of different drumsticks, creating sharper taps with the standard wooden drumstick and a sizzling noise with another drumstick that resembled a miniature broom, which was especially highlighted in the piece “Infant Eyes” by Wayne Shorter.

“Sometimes, because of the way those rhythms speak on the drumset in this room, I change the drumstick just for a different color…You can create a texture, almost like a string instrument,” said Lehmann.

The improvisation part of jazz could potentially pose a challenge for band members to play in synchronization, but often adds a unique twist to the music, according to Lehmann.

“It’s a surprise every time you hear an improvisation. It’s a unique thing. They’ve improvised many times, but not that particular way, and not that particular content. A really enjoyable part of the music is the surprise that the improvisation brings,” said Lehmann.

Audience member Peike Wu ’22 expressed that although he is not very familiar with the genre, he also enjoyed the improvisations in the music.

“I’ve never listened to jazz before, and I really found it interesting how each player had his own solo time. There was just a unique groove to jazz, and it was special,” said audience member Peike Wu ’22.